By Dennis Miller

STAFF WRITER

The San Jose Earthquakes made an effort to tap into local talent Friday, taking two former De La Salle High school stars in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft.

Noah Merl and Chris Wondolowski, who led De La Salle High to the North Coast Section title in 2001, were selected by the Quakes on Friday. The team picked Merl of Cal in the third round and Wondolowski of Chico State in the fourth.

Wondolowski hails from Danville and is the son of San Ramon Valley High boys soccer assistant coach John Wondolowski.

"I am really excited," Wondolowski said by phone from Chico on Friday night. "This a chance to keep playing soccer, and I've always wanted the chance to play soccer at the best level I can."

The midfielder was named to the California Collegiate Athletic Association First Team for the fourth consecutive season in 2004, scoring five goals and registering two assists for Chico State. He completed a successful college career at Chico State that saw him earn second-team All-American honors in 2003 as Chico State won the CCAA championship.

Wondolowski attended a recent Earthquakes combine and got a chance to show the team's coaching staff what he could do.

"I came down hoping to make a name for myself and hoped they would remember who I was," Wondolowski said. "It was a great time playing with those guys."

Merl, who is close friend of Wondolowski's, was the captain for the Bears in 2004, helping Cal to a 13-4-3 record, a national ranking and a trip to its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament.


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"I think the most exciting part of this is getting a chance to play with Noah again," Wondolowski said.

For the third consecutive year, Merl played in every game in 2004, scoring two goals and registering two assists as he earned All-Pac-10 second-team honors.

The Quakes also drafted defender Brett Rodriguez of Saratoga and Creighton University in the first round and Stanford goalie Robby Fulton in the second round.

The Quakes will continue their preseason training at West Valley College in Saratoga through next week and then depart next Friday for Bradenton, Fla., where they will train at the IMG Academy.

The team will return to the Bay Area on Feb. 24, then head to Southern California on March 2 to participate in exhibition games at Home Depot Center.

Finally, the Quakes will head to Charleston, S.C., to play in the Carolina Challenge Cup from March 17-26. They open the MLS season at home on Saturday, April 2 against the New England Revolution at 7:00 p.m.